January 10, 2013

The blessings of grey hair

Are you worrying about grey hair, wrinkles, about your backside giving in to the force of gravity?

Well, I don’t! Sure, it’s a beast that my eyesight isn’t what it used to be and I forget things and worry about getting Alzheimer’s. Still; I’m not unhappy with things as they are. You can have lots of fun with grey hair and I see the colour as a blessing!

Where to begin? For instance this time Beauty (DD1) and I rented a car in Mallorca and went to see the lighthouse at the Cap Formentor. It’s a lovely spot, but you have to drive a long way to get there. On the way back it got dark so I had to use full beam. The lights were not very well adjusted on our rental car so all cars meeting us gave us light signals to turn the lights down. After half an hour or so I got tired and turned the light permanently down (I’ve got very good night sight, so it didn’t bother me overly. With the lights maladjusted I couldn’t see much with them anyway.). We were still out somewhere in the woods, miles away from everywhere so I hit the gas pedal. Suddenly there was a police control in the middle of nowhere and they gave me signs to stop. I did and this gorgeous Spanish police officer came our way, why can’t they look like this everywhere?
I was pretty nervous, because I’d been driving way too fast and was afraid of loosing my driver’s licence and paying some heavy penalty fees. But nothing like that happened. He glanced at my hair, bent over me and showed me how to turn the full beam on! Then we were allowed to continue on our way. No, I usually don’t drive recklessly, but I’ve been driving on bad roads through the woods in Finland almost all my life, so it was no big deal for me.

Picture by courtesy of Carla/Grace and favour
Then we have all these seats being offered to me on the underground, buses, trains…My kids used to laugh about this, but they are the ones still standing on their feet after long days of sightseeing or shopping, so I just say thank you and ignore the snickering. This is definitely a blessing!

What also comes to mind are all these vendors trying to take advantage of my assumed feeblemindedness. You know, jumping around and telling the price in different currencies to distract you. Well now, I’m rather good at calculating several currencies in my head so I usually turn the table around and get really good deals before they are realizing what’s happening. This is perhaps not a blessing, but I hate it when people try to trick you!

Why am I telling you all of this? Because I want to tell you what may happen to elderly women in the field of typical male occupations. I’m in charge of the media technique at a big research institute. There are a lot of conference rooms and an auditorium with a multitude of things happening every day.

I’m the one getting the emergency calls, keeping the systems in working order and buying new stuff. I’ve got a hard hat and steel-toed shoes in my locker; I climb ladders and lie a lot on my back under some table or other (now, you should be ashamed of your thoughts!); you get the picture.

So my work means to take care of a lot of hassle, but it has it moments. Like that time I dropped the pager into the toilet. (that was a blessing while it lasted!) Or this typical situation; it happened once again yesterday. I got an emergency call and walked into a conference room filled to the brim with male engineers, just rub this image into your mind; I really, really enjoy situations like this and they are not in any way unusual.

This group didn’t like being disturbed and told me they’d already got coffee, thank you very much, wanting me to leave because they had more important things on their minds, like this breakdown…! Ok, so I fixed it in about 30 seconds and left them open-mouthed and redfaced. My colleague stood there hollering “What did you do? What did you do?” and I told him you need magical, female hands for some things and held my hands up. (Actually he did all the right things, but the system had a hiccup; I saw no need to tell him that)

Afterwards I told my colleagues from the domestic engineering what happened and they started hooting with laughter, not believing their ears! No one has ever asked them to get the coffee! The sweeties immediately began thinking about getting me an uniform. But perhaps I shouldn’t have told them after all, because now they are asking about coffee every time they see me…

And at home? For a very long time I just didn’t push myself forward when something happened with our own media gadgets and things were taken care of without my help. Then one day one of my daughters happened to read what’s written on my door at the office and the happy days were over!

By the way; do you know what male nurses are called in Sweden? Sister! Isn't it wonderful?